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10.7. Italics

Use quotation marks to cite quotations from books and periodicals rather than italics. The simultaneous use of italics and quotation marks must be avoided.

The use of italics is restricted to the following cases.

Titles of electronic or printed publications, white and green papers, films and plays (see Section 10.4(h)) if written in full.
Official Journal of the European Union
Short and abbreviated titles are in roman:
the Official Journal

Words and short phrases from foreign languages with their appropriate accents:

acquis, carte blanche, Länder, raison d’être

but not proper names (names of persons, institutions, places, etc.), and not usually foreign quotations.

Not all foreign words are italicised, however; a number have been assimilated into current English and are written in roman:

alias, démarche, detour, ad hoc, per capita, per se, vis-à-vis, etc.
Names of ships, aircraft and other vehicles:
the Cutty Sark
HMS Beagle
the SS Normandie
the Spirit of St Louis
the Flying Scotsman
Formulae in mathematical works.
Authors should take particular care to distinguish between l (the lower-case letter), 1 (the figure one) and I (the roman numeral or capital letter) and between O (the capital letter) and 0 (zero).
The names of flora and fauna; genus and species must be in italics, and other taxonomic ranks are also often italicised:
ORDER: Rosales Carnivora
FAMILY: Rosaceae Felidae
GENUS: Rosa Felis
SPECIES: Rosa moschata Felis catus


The genus name should be spelt out in full on first occurrence and subsequently abbreviated: Escherichia coli, abbreviated E. coli.

The parties’ names in cases before the Court of Justice, but not the ‘v’:
Case C-287/87 Commission v Greece [1990] ECR I-125

Latin abbreviations and phrases

Latin should be used sparingly as even the common phrases are often misused or misunderstood.

Write all Latin abbreviations in roman.
e.g., et al., et seq., ibid., i.e., NB, op. cit.

Latin words should usually be printed in italics (e.g. ex ante), but certain common Latin phrases take roman (refer to the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors for italic or roman style).

Examples of roman:

ad hoc, ad infinitum, per capita, pro forma, status quo

Latin phrases are not hyphenated when used adjectivally, e.g. ad hoc meeting.

Last updated: 17.2.2020
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